How a Strong Ecommerce Strategy Delivers Growth for Manufacturers

If you’re old enough to remember when Jeff Bezos just sold books online, you’re of an age that sees sales through a singular view. Perhaps not as antiquated as the door-to-door salesperson of the mid-20th century, but not too far off.

Paper catalogs, telephone calls and in-person meetings seem as distant a memory as the rotary phone and dial-up.

While the consumer buying experience is now more futuristic (buying with a fingerprint or face ID, touchless transactions, and virtual dressing rooms), in the B2B world, this scenario is still seen as out of reach, or worse, unnecessary.

A recent article by McKinsey , “How industrial companies can put e-commerce at the heart of their growth strategy,” shines a light on the imperative of putting ecommerce at the heart of any B2B growth strategy.

While more and more customers prefer online interactions, with 62 percent of B2B customers reporting they prefer to reorder products online, only 13 percent of industrial OEMs say they can offer digital solutions with their current capabilities, and only 10 percent offer online, automatic self-service tools for placing reorders.

This is a startling gap.

The article goes on to describe seven strategic questions companies must consider when creating their ecommerce strategy, including product and service offerings, distributor growth, customer engagement, pricing, and most importantly, building internal IT capabilities to ensure seamless customer experience.

Manufacturers that have yet to develop and implement digital transformation programs are already lagging behind the competition.

A similar McKinsey article, “Creating strong digital B2B channels at industrial companies,” points out how digitization and ecommerce are helping B2B companies address common pain points and deliver benefits including an improved end-to-end customer journey, incremental sales opportunities and increased sales-force efficiency.

Your customers want their buying experience with you to mirror what they experience as a consumer. Creating an end-to-end digital journey requires end-to-end digitalization of processes, systems, and most importantly, product data.

A Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) platform can give your customers the tools to choose the product features and options they want while driving real results for your company.

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